Gels

The Nail Hub Podcast Transcription: Dabbling

In this Nail Hub podcast transcription, Elizabeth Morris discusses mixing and matching of products. 

Welcome to, "The Nail Hub Podcast," powered by "NAILS Magazine," where you'll find all the business advice, motivation, and nail industry information you need to be a successful nail professional. I'm Elizabeth Morris, and thank you for joining me today.

As a product distributor, I get asked a lot about troubleshooting and constantly get tagged in things, and get e-mails, which I love, I love helping everyone. And that's also part of, you know, my job as an educator as well. And one of the things that I commonly see are issues that arise from mixing and matching products together, and I've actually talked about this several times in the past, you know, in my earlier episodes I talked about lamps, I talked about, you know, mixing and matching brands, stuff like that. And I actually also recently posted something on Facebook because I just get asked this so many times, and I feel like there's…you know, it's a very fine line to walk, right? Because, I have to be very careful about what I tell people, because if I promise that something's going to work and it doesn't work, then guess who has egg all over her face? But at the same time I feel like there's a lot of people in this industry that try to make these hard and fast rules, and I just don't think that makes sense, it doesn't make sense to tell someone, "No, just don't ever do it ever," right? Because people are gonna do it.  

I'm sure you, listening to this podcast have mixed and matched brands, lamps, whatever, at least once in your career. It's very, very rare that you find someone who's never dabbled with mixing different things together and even, you know, from a gel perspective, right? I mean, most of the time the issues arise when you're talking about uncured layers of gel, or you're talking about mixing brands together, can be a little bit of an issue and also the lamp that you cure it with is very, very important to make sure that we get the proper cure. But even when it comes to things like pigments, chrome powders, glitters, you know, art paints, all these other things that we can add onto our nails. Again, it's very unrealistic to say that someone's only gonna use one brand of product, really, I think at the end of the day what we need to move towards as an industry, obviously the manufacturers want you to use their brands, right? And so they approach things from a very strict perspective, which is they want nail techs to use their brand and their brand only. And I get that, that's part of them owning a business and that's part of what manufacturing is, but similar to any other product that's out there, I mean, if you think about for example like here in Arizona it's like Dunkin' Donuts versus Starbucks, or you've got Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. Or any of those other, you know, big competitors where they wouldn't want you...you know, Coca-Cola obviously wants you to drink Coca-Cola, they don't want you to dabble with other things. However, I think that at the end of the day people are going to pick and choose what works best for them in a certain situation, so if you're talking about maybe, you know, you love a specific brand but maybe they don't offer a specific product that you really want, so maybe the brand you love doesn't have, you know, a hard gel, right? Maybe they're just a soak off line and they don't offer you really good sculpting gels and maybe that's not their specialty, or maybe they don't have a lot of nail art maybe, you know, they're a tried and true brand that's a little bit more on the conservative side. So they don't have a lot of those crazy colors, those glitters, those different effects.   So I think that's where the issue arises is that nail techs are under pressure to perform specific services, because our clients come to us with all manner of pictures saying, "Hey, I saw this picture on Pinterest," or, "I saw this on Instagram," or, "I just saw this, can you do this? Can you put this on my nails?" And if you only have, you know, one specific line of products you're probably not gonna be able to be, you know, to be able to do that service. So I think that's where the issue arises. I don't think as nail techs we go into this going, you know, "I wanna create problems for myself by mixing and matching products together." No, that's not what we go into it for, we usually go into it because we either see something really fun that we like and we wanna use it on ourselves and on our clients, or our clients pressure us to carry things that maybe our favorite line of products doesn't carry. And also at the end of the day choosing products is a very personal decision, I mean, it is one of those things where it comes down to how it feels, how it…you know, how you like working with it, does it work for you? Does it match with your brain? I mean, I'm one of those people where I'm an Android person, I literally cannot use an iPhone, and it's funny because I have a Mac computer but if you ask me to use an iPhone I'm like, "Oh! Hell no." Like I just don't get it, right? And there's a couple different things that I don't like about iPhones, and so I've always had a Samsung Android phone. So does that mean that I'm not true to Apple? Does that mean that I don't like Apple products? No, I love Apple products, I have an iPad, I have a Mac book, but I also own a PC, because I love using Excel and Excel works best on a PC, and I also own a Samsung cell phone because I like their cell phones, I like them much better. So I think the same rules apply to our products, which is, does it mean that we're being disloyal by using other brands? No, I don't think so. And does it really cause that many problems? No, I don't think so.   Just like technology there are these things that you have to work around to make sure things work properly, but at the end of the day you can use a Samsung phone and own a Mac computer, like, it's possible people. So, this is where a lot of people disagree with me when I start talking about mixing and matching products. I know that no manufacturer on the planet will back me up with this statement, and that's okay, I'm cool with that. And I know that there's a lot of people in the industry that also are so anti, right? They're like, "No, no, no, we need to tell people like how to use things and only, you know, use this specific thing because what about all the liability? And what about if this happens, and they hurt their client? What about this? And what about that?" And I'm like, "Okay, of course, there's a lot of things that can go wrong, right? But I mean, don't we drive to work in a car every day? Don't we take a lot of risk like in our daily lives?" I mean, there's risk with anything that you do. There's risk drinking a diet coke. And so I've had this conversation a lot, which is like, "Oh my gosh, let's get away from the fear mongering bandwagon, let's actually educate people about how they can make these educated choices for themselves." And again, if you wanna dabble, and you wanna mix and match products, and you wanna use different lamps, and you wanna do all the stuff, that's on you, right? The only caveat to it, the only thing you need to consider is if something goes wrong, and you do cause an allergic reaction, or you do undercure something and the nail falls off, or you overcure something and the person's nails get really brittle, or something adverse happens that you weren't planning on, well, then it's on you, right?   It's not on the manufacturer, it's not on, you know, anybody else in the industry, it's no one else's fault other than yours. And I think that's an important thing for us to realize, which is, we have the freedom to make our own choices for our businesses. I get so frustrated with people in the industry trying to shove these black and white rules down people's throats and I'm like, "It doesn't work that way." And also, I feel like it also creates almost an underlying sense of rebellion which is when you get told not to do something you almost want to do it more, right? So, rather than kind of create these hard and fast rules I like to educate people about what happens when you do something, why does it happen? How you can prevent it, which obviously the easiest answer is don't mix and match. But how you can prevent it and also how you can work around things. And we are not alone, I mean, throughout the world, nail technicians mix and match products and there are a lot of people that have amazing product knowledge and a lot of chemistry knowledge that understand how these things work together, and when we're talking about gels, at the end of the day we're talking about different formulas of polymers, which is essentially plastic, right? So if we think about how those different formulas work together and the fact that there's chemistry behind this and there's different ingredients, you can start to see why sometimes when we do things, it's like oil and water, right? It's like the two things do not go together and you don't really know that until you start playing with things, and that's also where part of the responsibility comes in is, number one, if you do want to get into mixing and matching things, there's a couple underlying rules of, you know, making sure that you're not mixing and matching when things are still uncured, or when they're still inhibition layer, right? So, you can easily take any finish nail whether it's a liquid and powder, acrylic nail, or a hard gel nail, or whatever, as long as that nail has been cleaned and has been filed, you can put whatever gel you want on top of it, right? I mean literally.  

The issues usually arise when you're talking about when you still have that uncured gel, so whether it's, you know, you're trying to do what on what nail art or maybe you're trying to embed something, or you also have your inhibition layer still there and so you're trying to apply a different brand of something on top of another brand's inhibition layer, and that's when you'll start to see these issues arise, which is like…it's like oil on water, right? Because the two formulas don't go together, and it can also happen because, you know, you're undercuring your products and so if you have too much inhibition layer or, you know, the product hasn't fully cured and hasn't fully hardened the way it's supposed to then you can also have issues. So, those are kind of the main, the main rules of engagement, which is, if you want to dabble, just make sure that whatever product you've used prior is finished, cleaned, filed, right?   

When you're talking about gel polish I think it's so much easier to just stick with like a base and maybe like a smoothing gel of some kind, so, for example, you could use, you know, whatever base gel comes with your line and if you're gonna go straight in the collar, like if you're one of those nail techs where you just do soak off gel-polish nails, just stick with one system. It's so much easier because then you can use base color and top coat all in one, but I find that, you know, once we get into like for example what your favorite hard gel is, you know, what your favorite colors are? I mean, a lot of us who do artificial nails, I mean, once you have that artificial nail down on the nail, you can do whatever you want afterwards. But I do recommend sticking with the same product from base all the way through the actual like finished artificial nail. And also, if you can, you know, using the lamp that goes with that because what you're doing is you're basically finishing the nail, right? You're basically making sure that the base is gonna adhere, that the base has properly cured, and that your hard gels or even like your soak off builder gels, for example, again, have fully cured, are, you know, attaching to that base layer. And then you have all that strength and all of that shape and structure already on the nail plate, it's cleaned, you can finish file it, and then you can move on with whatever other product you'd like to use.   

The other thing that's happening in this industry is I think a lot of manufacturers are starting to see this issue where nail techs are wanting to mix and match, and so there are manufacturers who are coming up with more universal type products, because they understand that, "Hey, you know, people are looking for an excellent, excellent base coat for adhesion on the natural nail." But then they might use whatever manner of color after that, right? And so, I think that's gonna be a trend in the future, and I think us as nail techs here especially in, you know, the U.S. and Canada, I would argue that we don't spend as much time on product knowledge. I would say that from the nail artists that I have met from like Eastern Europe and, you know, Japan and Asia, they're very well-versed on how gels work, how the lamp actually cures the gels, what's actually happening inside the gel when it cures. And to me, that is a big sign that we need to up our education here in the United States. Product knowledge is something that literally should be something that you learn about from day one, and unfortunately, again, in these, you know, state run beauty schools they don't even cover any of that stuff. I mean, they talk about real quick what, you know, "Oligomers are, and monomers, and polymers," but they don't really talk about like what happens when you stick your finger in the lamp, or what happens when you mix monomer with, you know, your powder? What happens with that curing reaction? And it's very, very quick, it's very focused on disinfection and sensitization, which is obviously very important, but I feel like the product knowledge is lacking.   So that's where I come from. That's my perspective, again, my personal opinion, you're more than welcome to disagree with me, I am willing to own my decisions in the words that I speak and that's totally fine. And I don't expect…you know, even the brands that I distribute as a distributor, I don't expect the manufacturers to back me up when I'm telling my customers that they can mix and match different things together, that's on me, right? And as soon as I take that accountability, I'm the one that is liable for that. I'm the one that if I told you that something's gonna work and it doesn't work then that's my, you know, issue, right? So that's kind of what we need to look at as nail technicians, is when someone is telling you something, "Hey, do it this way," and you do it the complete opposite, just take accountability for that, you can dabble as much as you want but just realize that if anything goes wrong it's on you, and I think that's a very important thing for us to realize as business owners. Is it's very important to take that accountability, accountability means…it's different than responsibility, right? Responsibility is like an inherent thing, accountability comes with choice, which means if you make a choice you are responsible for the outcome of that choice, that's what accountability is. And I think that's a very, very important thing for any nail technician or salon owner to be accountable for, right? Is that once we own our choices and we own the outcomes of those choices, then we feel so much more confident about the decisions that we're making and we're not just blindly following someone, and we're actually taking the time to educate ourselves and to make sure that we understand what's going on. And there's a lot of semantics that go with that but I think at the end of the day the more you educate yourself about what happens when we're doing nails, and what the different attributes of different things are, then you're going to be able to be very successful.  

Now, a lot of people are gonna ask me, "Well Liz, how do I go about getting product knowledge?" Well, part of it is just reading about stuff, right? I mean, have you ever actually looked up what a polymer is? Or have you ever actually looked up the chemistry behind ultraviolet light or UV initiators? Or any of that stuff? You know, Doug Schoon for example. Doug tends to be very black and white when he is out there talking about topics with nail technicians, and I don't necessarily agree with him on that part of what he does, but the guy does write very good books about what happens when we are doing nails. What happens… what is the chemical reaction that happens? Those are great resources, there's a lot of great resources. There's a lot of people that share their knowledge, and also like Jim McConnell from Light Elegance, McConnell Labs. He's also a very well-known chemist and he has also written a ton of articles that are online about UV lamps, and what they do, and what happens when gel cures. And also just asking questions, I mean, asking your manufacturer, "Hey, I want more information about what this is and how it works." And I would argue that the manufacturers who actually make their product in-house are much more prepared to do that, because there are a lot of manufacturers who just private label stuff from big factories. And in that case it's very difficult, you know, they are a part of the whole process but at the same time they're relying on a formula that's been created by someone else and they're just sticking it in jars or bottles and putting their sticker on it.  

So, manufacturers that are actually making their own products and are in control of that process are great resources just for general knowledge to understand how products work. And again, I am biased towards gel because that's what I use and that's what I know the most about. But same thing goes for liquid and powder, I mean, I think it's very important for you to ask those questions, contact the company that makes your products and say, "Hey, I want more information about how this works, do you have any resources," right? Taking classes is also another big one, and I have taken a lot of classes. I take classes from almost every person I can get my hands on, and that's amazing, you'll learn so much stuff from different people. Online is a great resource as well, so just Googling things and looking at the actual technology behind gel nail products.  

Again, a lot of the stuff that we have in the nail industry came from the dental industry, right? So like when you get a filling, they put that little…you know, they put the stuff on your tooth and they put the little lamp in your mouth, I mean, that's essentially the similar stuff that we use when we're talking about gels. It's an ultraviolet cured product that hardens on the nail…oh sorry, on your tooth, and fills in any, you know, divots you have or anything like that, or where a dentist has drilled out decay, very, very similar. That's also where we get a lot of our e-files and stuff is from the dental industry and also our bits, believe it or not, come from the dental industry. Now, they're not the same as dental bits and they're not the same as dental e-files. They have been specialized over the years for nails but, I mean, there are a lot of background knowledge that comes behind all of these product developments, and there's a lot of technology that comes with everything that's being developed, and it's just a matter of understanding that fundamental technology and how it works.   So again, if we're talking about the way gel cures, we're talking about, you know, molecules that are loose, suspended in a liquid, and as soon as we expose it to ultraviolet light, there's a UV Initiator that starts that chemical reaction, the molecule will start to go crazy which causes heat, right? Because they start to rub together and come together and form bonds, that's where we get our heat and our tightening sensation when we cure gel. And also, these are important things to know not just because it's going to prevent you from having those adverse reactions when you're doing nails, and it can happen even when you're using one line of product, right, it can happen when you don't necessarily understand how something is supposed to work and you go about just using it on a client. You know, even when we're using the same line of products the stuff can happen if we're not well-versed on it, but not only is it something that prevents you from having issues during the service. But it also allows you to educate your client, right? I mean, what's the most important thing we can do for our clientele is educate them so that they're not freaked out when we're doing their nails.  

So, for example, I love gel, gel does have heat when it cures. All gels create some level of heat, some of it you can feel some of it you can't, and hard gels because they create such a tight bond and such a hard, non-porous surface, they tend to get hotter than soak off gel like gel polish, right? Because gel polish is flexible, it's porous, it can be soaked off with acetone because the acetone can get in between those little nooks and crannies and start to eat it apart. So, when we're talking about heat, I remember when I first started as a nail technician, I really had no clue why gel got hot, no idea and I didn't know what to say to my clients other than, you know, I would do the typical thing like either say nothing, or laugh about it, or try and brush it under the rug as my client was complaining about the heat that they were feeling while their nails were curing. And as our lamps have gotten more powerful, the heat issue has become bigger, right? To be really, really nerdy it's also the same issue that we've had in the semiconductor industry, which is where I used to work before I got into the nail industry, which is, as we make things smaller, right?  So, if you think about the amount of little parts and chips and stuff that's inside of your computer or your phone, it's crazy to think about how much electricity, and how much current is running through all of those things and all these little processors that are going on in your phone, for example, it creates heat, right? You've got the battery, you've got the processor, you've got the baseband that gets your cell phone signal, you've got a Bluetooth chip that allows you to Bluetooth, you've got a Wi-Fi chip that allows you to do Wi-Fi. You've got NFC, you've got an accelerometer, right, which allows the phone to tell which direction it's being spun, right? Almost like a gyroscope inside, it tells the phone if it's being upright, or sideways, or tipped left or tipped right. So all these things that we have going on require power to work, and it creates heat, and so it's the same thing that happens with, you know, the more powerful the technology gets the more issues there are with managing those types of symptoms, which is heat. You know, gel is one of those things which is the exposure time for gels has gone way down which means the gel has to harden that much faster. So, we've got a faster reaction happening, so if there was friction, for example, and there was all this movement of molecules, you take that from what it used to be was like five minutes way back in the day, the curing times were like five minutes, now it's down to like even 10, 15 seconds for certain gels. Holy molly, you can think about how fast those molecules are moving and coming together to form bonds, and how much heat that creates, and how much tightening sensation that creates in a short period of time. So you're gonna get the zing when the gel cures, and so this is one of those things where, yeah, it's awesome to be able to cure things in 30 seconds versus five minutes.  

It's way better for the nail technician, but there's also, you know, adverse side effects, right? And one of them is heat, but if we can educate our clients about what's happening, why their nails get hot, and also educate them about how even with the faster curing times, we can do things like flash curing, and all of that, which can slow down the curing process. Now, we're in the situation where we have all of the amazing technology at our fingertips, we have all the product knowledge but we can also use it to our advantage, and make sure that we don't have any of those adverse side effects when it comes to our clientele, and our clients are well educated about it so they don't get freaked out like it's some Pandora's box that they're not quite sure what the heck is inside of it. No, they understand what's going on, they realize that you're not hurting them, that the product isn't hurting them, and that there's ways to get around...there's basically ways to have your cake and eat it too, which is there's ways to have the gel cure more solidly, right? For the LED light to be able to penetrate that gel deeper and be able to cure it from the inside out, to be able to cure it faster, to be able to get a better cure, you know, and have, you know, darker pigments, more pigment to gel and be able to have less coats of products. I mean, all of these things are amazing advances that we've had in the nail industry but we wanna make sure that we educate our clients about, "Hey, we've had all these amazing things that allow us to do our job better but there are some things that we need to manage and here's how we can manage them, and here's what's going on."   And I am a big believer in educating clients, because I think that, for example, if you can put yourself in the position of like going to the doctor, right? And if you've ever been to a doctor that has horrible bedside manner. Bedside manner, if you've never heard the term, basically means the way they talk to you and the way they explain things, right? Doctors like to talk in big words, right, medical terms. Even my friends who are registered nurses and doctors, they...if you try to have a conversation with them about something they immediately switch into medical terminology, and you're like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, like, slow your roll, come back to layman terms please. I don't understand what you're talking about." So, if you think about that, if you think about if you've ever had an issue, a medical issue, or something that you've gone to the doctor and the doctor had a horrible bedside manner, didn't explain anything to you, treated you like, you know, you were just some guinea pig. You're gonna be prodded and poked, and they were gonna do all these treatments to you without explaining any of the side effects or explaining like how it was going to feel, right? If they just jabbed you with a needle without explaining it beforehand you'd be like, "Oh my gosh, like what are you doing to me," right? And it'd be super traumatizing.  

Well, same thing goes for with our clients, which is, if we explain things before they happen then our client is aware that it's going to happen and then there's no more fear of what's going to happen. Similar to, you know, when the doctor says, "Okay, you know, I'm gonna give you a little poke here, there's gonna be a little pressure, there's going to a little whatever," and explain to you what's going on. They explained to you what they're trying to accomplish, I mean, there's still an element of discomfort with certain things but at least you know what's going on, and they can also manage that discomfort by doing different things. So, you know, long story short, I think it's very important to have this product knowledge not only to avoid those issues with when we do need to mix and match products but also to educate our clientele, so that our clientele trust us, remains loyal to us. That's a huge, huge thing. It's a huge upside to what you can do with your clientele, okay?

So, you know, where am I going with this conversation? Well, I guess my whole point with all of this is that at the end of the day it's your decision whether or not you wanna mix and match products. I know most nail technicians I know do mix and match, right? And most of them have learned the hard way, which is realizing that things go wrong. If I had any recommendations for people that were either new to this or early on in their careers it would be take classes and practice on yourself before you ever put it on a client, right? You need to make sure that nothing bad is happening on you before you try it on other people. The other thing is realize that if you do dabble you're going to take full accountability for that decision. So again, if something really bad happens then, you know, that's on you. But similar to doctors having malpractice insurance we have liability insurance, which again, we are using the products as they're suggested but if we use different products together and something bad happens that's where liability insurance can kick in.  

And you wanna make sure that your liability insurance will cover you for that, I mean, doctors have things go wrong all the time, right? They cut people, they might use a prescription on someone that they thought would work and they have a really bad side effect, you know, there's lots of things that you can be well-versed in what you do and still have mistakes happen, and that's where that insurance comes into play. We have the same thing here in the beauty industry, just make sure that your policy that you have signed up for would cover you for stuff like that. But that can happen even when we use like tools, you know, we can use something as simple as a cuticle pusher and cause an issue just from, you know, pushing too hard or maybe something slightly wrong went…you know, or maybe the client lied to you and told you that they didn't have diabetes. I mean, whatever it is, there's things that can go wrong at every turn and so I would rather be well-versed in what I do, be well educated about the products that I use, be able to formulate the specific service for my clients that I know is going to work well for them. And if issues do arise then I take full accountability for those issues, I fix things as they happen. But I'm not experimenting on my clients. I'm not trying things for the first time on my clients. It's something that I have tested, I have tried, I have made sure works or at least I know the work around on the spot so, for example, if, you know, I put a color down and it's pulling and pulling, I know that there's something on the nail that's preventing that color from working properly. Whether it's the cleanser that I use, the house perfume and oils in it, or if it's, you know, the inhibition layer of the previous product from a different brand.  

I mean, I like to be well-versed in those things so that I can adapt on the fly, but when it comes to paying clientele, I do not experiment on paying clientele, right? I wanna make sure that if I use something and if I'm promoting something that I have tested it myself and then I understand exactly what can happen, and I've also tested the durability of it, and that's something that us as nail technicians we don't do a very good job of. We tend to either, you know, we do our own nails completely differently than what we really do on our clients. And so, we never end up practicing the real tried and true service that we do on a daily basis, or we buy something fun at a trade show or at a store that we've never tried before and we just like to start using it on people not realizing how it should be used or what it's going to do when it interacts with our other products we already own. Or, you know, we tend to just like try things on the fly, you know, and then we sweat it when we're in the middle of the appointment and things aren't going right and then we end up with egg on our face, or our client comes back within, you know, two or three days and says, "Hey, my stuff's falling off," or, "My nails are chipping." Or, you know, whatever it is.  

Like chrome for example, chrome is an excellent example. Chrome hit the market, there were so many different brands of chrome, there's so many different brands of no-cleanse top coat, there are so many different variations of lamps, right? And all these people they went gaga over chrome they were like, "Oh my God, have to have it, have to put it on my clients, because this is going to make me Insta famous. This is going to make me rich, all my clients will be clamoring to get chrome nails." And what happened? Most people put chrome on their whole slew of clients for the two weeks and then people started coming back with their nails chipping and peeling, with the chrome falling off, or the top coat that they use didn't work, or it was eating the chrome. Or, they didn't get that perfectly mirror finish like they thought they were going to get. So then they buy a different chrome and try that with…buy a different top coat and try that and they're not realizing, "Hey, what's happening? What's the fundamental issue here, right?"   And then it phases out because people are like, "Oh I tried chrome." You probably spent…you know, maybe I'm talking to you, maybe you've had this experience, which is, you tried all these chrome powders, you bought them at a premium when they first came out when they were like ridiculous like $45 an ounce, and you tried it, didn't work, chipped, you had all these reworks. You had all this issue with your clientele, maybe you were trying to do things in the service that just wasn't working. And then you end up with all these chromes sitting in your drawer because you don't know how to use them and they're not successful with the product line that you use, right? And this is a huge issue as well, which is, forget about just the sheer fact of educating the clients and also making sure that things go right during the appointment, but what about all the wasted money? What about all the money that just sits in people's drawers? All this investment in products, and I like to use the word investment because it is an investment. Your product should not be a random expense, it should be an investment; everything that you own, everything that sits in your drawer at your salon should be something that makes you money, if it doesn't make you money then why are you buying it? That's something that you guys need to think about. And so when you have an issue or something you thought was going to work doesn't work, usually nail technicians immediately blame the product, they go, "Oh it's the product, this product sucks." They throw it in the drawer.   Well, okay. Companies don't usually stay in business when they sell products that don't work, right? Usually it's an issue where you just didn't know how to use it, or you didn't know how to get the most out of it and manufacturers are specialists in making amazing stuff, right? That's how they stay in businesses, they formulate amazing things that they know are gonna work but they may not be the best at educating people, they may be really good at formulating something similar to…I'll use the engineer analogy, okay? When I used to work in semiconductors, we had these brilliant…well, they still are there, I'm just not there anymore, but these brilliant, brilliant minds. I mean, I'm talking about people that have invented all kinds of amazing things that have patents covering all their walls, these amazing brilliant people. They can make the coolest technology on the planet and think of things that the average human can't even dream of, but if you ask them to teach you how to use that thing that they've created, oh no, it doesn't work, because you're talking about a scientific mind that understands the inner workings and all of these different things and then you're asking them to teach a common user how to use it, right? And that's why there's a lot of things like software and stuff like that, I mean, it's the kind of surface layer that we put over things so that the average Joe can use something, and I feel like in the nail industry it's very similar. I feel like the manufacturers are usually excellent at making the products and getting it to market, but they're not great at making sure people understand how to use it. And also a lot of manufacturers they don't want to get into those conversations of, "Well, if you used it like this, I mean, yeah, you could use it like that." No, their job is to make the products. Their job is not to teach you how to dabble with their products, right? That's not their MO.  

So I think it's very important that we take that time to realize that when we do dabble, when we do mix and match, when we do play around with things. The first person you should blame is yourself not the manufacturer, right? And blame is a harsh word, but again, it means taking accountability, if you do something out of the norm then just take accountability for it, and I don't know about you but I would rather have the freedom to choose what I like, right? To be able to say, "Hey, this company makes the best freaking chrome powder on the planet, I want to use their Chrome and I wanna figure out how to incorporate it into the products that I like to use," right? Or I like this specific brand of hard gel and I want to be able to use this hard gel for every single client, but then of course I wanna be able to use whatever colors and nail are in stuff afterwards, right? So I do think that people specialize, companies specialize in certain things. They may make the most amazing gel polish, but I guarantee you their hard gel probably isn't that great when compared to other brands, right? And so, it's just a sheer matter of the fact that you can't be perfect at everything, you can't be a specialist in everything. And so, that's why I really think that mixing and matching is something that we need to address in this industry because at the end of the day people are going to pick their favorite products.  

Just like when you watch any makeup tutorials on YouTube. People have their faves, right? They don't use the same brand of brushes as their foundation. They don't use the same blush as their foundation why? Because they love a specific brand's blush, they love a specific brand's makeup, and yeah, there's not as many chemical issues that we have to deal with as far as the interactions between those two products, but it's a very similar situation, which is, certain things are just very specialized and I think that it's okay for us to make those decisions of saying, "Hey, I really like this brand of X, I want to use that. And then for my colors, I wanna use that. And for my art gels, I wanna use that." And I think if you're that type of nail tech where you are doing those more advanced services, then just focus on understanding exactly what's happening, learn about the chemistry, research and even if you don't know what it means, similar to every average Joe has probably gone on WebMD at some point and researched something and try to figure out, you know, "Hey, this is the issue I'm having, what is the possible, you know, medical issue that I'm having?" And they start to get an idea like, you know, is this, is it that, should I go to a doctor. I mean, I think there is an element of research that needs to happen before you immediately just go, "Oh, this doesn't work," right? And you should also be researching things before you even try them. I mean, did you watch the tutorial, did you watch the manufacturer's tutorial on that product? Have you Googled it to see how many thousands of people have done tutorials on that product and shown you the ins and outs of it? And most nail products in this industry, there are a ton of people who do videos on them, or do articles on them, or write up, you know, here's what happened when I used it. And I think nail techs were…you know, correct me if I'm wrong, but I would say, I would venture to say that most of us aren't doing our job when it comes to knowing what we're using and how we use it.   So you can disagree with me if you want to but I think that's a very fair statement, which is, a lot of us we just rush into things, we get excited, we're all like, "Oh, I got to put this on somebody, this is so amazing." We don't learn about it, we don't, you know, research the possible interactions or possible side effects, or possible outcomes. We don't research what it is, we don't research how it works. We're just like, "I'll figure it out, I'll dabble." And that's cool if you want to do that, but again, I think it's much more important to be well educated, to understand what's going on, to understand those possible outcomes, and also to be able to educate your clients on it, I think is very important. 

And also, like I said, the money issue, which is, why would you just want to like run into something and not realize that, "Oh my gosh, I wasted my money? Like why did I do that? Like I just…I threw this in a drawer. I have no idea how it works. I tried it once, it didn't work for me, so I'm just going to throw in the garbage" or throw it in a drawer. And it's like, I mean, what happened to the $20, $30, $40 you just spent on that thing like, what the heck?   So, anyway, I just wanted to talk about this issue because I think it is something that we need to address and I don't think that the manufacturers are necessarily the ones that are responsible for addressing this issue. I wish there were more people that understood things the way I understand them, which is, people are going to dabble, so we need to educate people about how they can successfully do that, and also what to do when things go wrong. But I think a lot of people address things from a huge liability perspective, which is like, "Oh my gosh, like, what if the person's finger falls off when you mix OPI Gel polish with, you know, gelish base coat?" It's like really, like, if it was that big of an issue I don't even think that manufacturers would be selling at trade shows next door to each other, right?   If manufacturers actually knew that mixing their base coat with another brand's gel color was gonna make people's fingers fall off, you really think they'd be selling their products side by side? No, I don't think so. And that why I think it's a total farce to say, "Oh, you know, you can't use anything but this, you know, brand's product." It's like, no, that's dumb, okay? I'm just gonna call it what it is, it's dumb.   Now, is it easier to use only one brand of product? Yes, it's easier because you don't have to think about all of that. So if you're the type of nail tech where you're like, "I don't like researching things, I don't wanna have to think about it, I just want to, you know, put my head down and do nails." Then just buy one brand of product. It's so much easier if you just stick with one line, but if you wanna take it to the next level, and you want to be able to do all of these different things that you see, then you need to take accountability for that, you need to take accountability for educating yourself. You need to take accountability for any times things go wrong. And you need to stop blaming the manufacturer or throwing things in a drawer or, you know, whatever, blaming the powers above that the stuff didn't work for you, because if you haven't done your research and you haven't prepared yourself to use something successfully then how can you blame anyone but yourself. And I'm cool with taking that decision on. I'm cool with understanding those things and researching and learning about it and understanding the ins and outs so that I can make those decisions, and making those decisions about what products I like and what products I don't like? But I know there's also nail techs who are like, "No, I don't want to be like that. I just wanna use one brand of products, it's much easier to manage." That's totally cool too.   But I just think we need to get away from this idea of like, "Oh my gosh, you can't mix and match, how dare you? It's like, no, that's not realistic." And people are gonna mix and match at some point, they're gonna do it unknowingly or they're going to just blindly go into it, they're not going to understand the side effects, they're not going to understand what can happen. And we need to educate people about how do you fix it, right? "Hey, you made the mistake, you mixed and match things that don't work together. Well, how do you fix that?" Right, how do you still use up that bottle of stuff that you bought and not have to throw it in the garbage? And I see a lot of this on Facebook too, which is, people are like, "Oh this didn't work for me, this probably didn't work." And then people are immediately are like, "Yeah, buy this brand instead, buy this brand instead." And I'm like, "Okay, I mean, there are some brands that I don't think are that high quality."   But at the end of the day, I mean, everything can be used, and so that's why I'm like, "I don't know, I don't... I'm not a big believer in this." Like, "Oh just hop on a different brands' bandwagon." It's like, no, the product was made for a specific purpose, you failed to educate yourself about that purpose or how to use it towards that purpose, and then what? Now you're just going to buy like another brand of something? I mean, and you're probably going to repeat the same thing, which is again, you don't know how to use it, you don't know what it's for, you don't know what the intention was behind formulating it. You don't know what the manufacturer intended it to be used for, you're just using it for your own purposes, and it's such a waste of time, money, and just effort. And I just…I think we need to address this going forward because I think this is also one of the biggest banes of existence for nail techs, which is things going wrong during the service, things going wrong after the service, which we have to fix, and the amount of money that we have to invest in products thinking that buying a different something is gonna fix the problem.   Sometimes it does fix the problem but at the end of the day products are products, right? And I think we need to look at how we can really educate nail technicians so that they can make those educated choices. And also, the other reason why I believe in this is because when educated nail techs are out there purchasing products and realizing like, hey, they don't like this about that, or they don't like this attribute, it's gonna also put pressure on the manufacturers to continue to make advancements, and to continue to make even more amazing products and to fix the issues in the products that they have, right? So if a top coat yellows, well, if the nail technicians understood why the top coat was yellowing, right? They would be able to come back to the manufacture and say, "Hey, I bought your top coat, it works great, but it yellows too much and I want you to improve your formula so that it doesn't," right? And I think that's also an important part of our industry being able to move forward is putting pressure on nail technicians to be accountable for their actions and their decisions and also putting pressure on the manufacturers to be accountable for their actions and their decisions, and making sure that we all move forward.  

And that's really how I think we can elevate this industry is being well-versed at what we do and being able to have educated conversations about stuff so that we can discuss, "Hey, does this make sense," right? Is this something that we want to support? And instead of it just being a don't touch it, don't look at it, don't buy it, don't do it type of conversation, which is so dumb, we need to have these, "Well, let's debate it, let's talk about it, let's talk about what's actually happening, let's talk about all of the, you know, the benefits and the cons… you know, the pros and cons, you know, the benefits and the consequences." Let's talk about all those things and then we can make those educated decisions for ourselves rather than just having those decisions shoved down our throats, okay?   So I know I've been kind of rambling today, I just… I'm getting…you know, I'm always frustrated about this topic so I just…I don't understand why people don't wanna learn the fundamentals, it's like if you know the fundamental information you can make a decision about almost anything. And I think it's also very important for us to be educated about just like when you go to a doctor, it's important for you to understand a little bit about what you're going into so that you can have a voice in that decision, so that you can have the professional's opinion that tells you, "Hey, I think you should do this," right? But, you know, there's also the incentive for those doctors to overprescribe stuff, right? Because they get lobbied by the pharmaceutical companies, and so us as those clients of doctors we have to be a little bit educated about what we're getting ourselves into so that we understand the consequences of saying yes, or no, or whatever.  

And again, once we have that decision making process we are accountable for that decision, but at least as you own yourself, you own your decision. Same thing with a nail technician, you own your business, you own the decisions that happen within that business, and I think that's very important, you can still take professional opinions. You can still listen to everything that's out there, but at the end of the day you should really absorb all of the different sides of information, make your own decision. And not just with your gut but also with some education and with some research, okay?  

So that's my rant for the day. Thanksgiving is this week, so happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope that you guys have an amazing Thanksgiving. I hope you guys get time with your family and friends and your loved ones and, you know, maybe you'll sneak your pet a little bit of meat off the table, I don't know. But I hope you guys all have an amazing Thanksgiving. I'll be in touch with my next episode soon, and as always if you guys have any comments or anything; obviously, on iTunes and Google Play, you can't comment on my podcast, but I do upload these guys to YouTube. So, if you wanna head over to YouTube and check it out there, you can comment below my podcast episodes and leave me some commentary, some questions, some suggestions, whatever you'd like. You can also email me at [email protected], and I am always open to feedback. I love when people disagree with me or agree with me, either one, because it allows me to have those types of educated conversations, and I like having educated conversations. I like debating things. I like learning about things, and I like hearing from all of you because the whole reason why I do this podcast is to kind of open the minds of the people that listen to this.   Obviously, I have my own biases. I mean, I'm human, I'm not a robot. But I also like hearing your guy's feedback, because it gives me a different perspective and pulls me out of my biases, and we're all able to have an awesome conversation about something. So whether you agree or disagree, please leave your comments below my YouTube video or hit me up via email. And again, happy Thanksgiving, hope you all have a safe, wonderful holiday, and I will talk to you guys soon, bye.  

This is Elizabeth Morris, signing off from "The Nail Hub." This podcast is sponsored by "NAILS Magazine," the professional nail industry's leading publication. Have a suggestion, question, or concern? Send me an email at [email protected] And don't forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @thenailhub, and check out The Nail Hub YouTube channel for more episodes and tutorials. Want customized business consulting, access to classes, amazing products, and more? Visit thenailhub.com and check out all the wonderful things we provide. Our goal is to help you reach your ultimate potential.   Thanks for listening, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

 

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